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"Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it" - Lacan and Mulvey's lens


Mulvey explores how cinema or female representation in the media fulfills a "scopophilic criteria" for the active male gaze (Mulvey 4). From that lens, we see how in a globalized world, Mulvey's analysis of women's representation in the media is mainly about making women passive subjects for the desires of men. Lana Del Rey can categorically be seen as one of the many women that tailor their music to the male gaze. However, they are able to preserve their autonomy and agency by critiquing what the model woxen should be.

In Lana Del Rey's song "Hope is a dangerous thing for women like me to have, but I have it" - we see how she asserts:


"Maybe I'd get less stressed if I was tested less like

All of these debutantes

Smiling for miles in pink dresses and high heels on white yachts."


She strikingly challenges the unfair expectations of the male gaze, where women often must be primed up in dresses fulfilling their "passive" roles ordained in the patriarchy.


Lacan's analysis of the formation of the ego in relation to the mirror is pivotal here because it demonstrates how media becomes this new imaginary of the "production of ego ideals" (Mulvey 4,5). Conversely, Mulvey uses Lacan's analysis to demonstrate how cinema (or more broadly any media product like Lana's song) is now used beyond the "materiality of time and space", where its able to create a permanent resonance in audiences (Mulvey 13). This effect historically constituted women being passive subjects. However, now they can be active ones too, as Lana's lyrics reveal to us, giving her hope and materializing it for audiences like us through this "production of ego ideals."

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Although singers like Lana Del Rey acknowledge the presence of the notorious male gaze, they produce songs that further perpetuate such ideas. Lana Del Rey's famous song, Young and Beautiful, has the following line,


"Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?

Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?"


If we compare both the songs side by side, we see that one song talks about the work and stress that goes into fitting into the male gaze. The second song signifies the importance of fitting into these roles. This also shows how women are insecure that they will become unlovable and undesirable if they don't conform to these unrealistic standards.

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100% - I think Lana Del Rey has made her entire career out of glamorizing abuse and a melancholic aura. However, it is important to recognize how her music is perhaps the most adequate reflection of white America and a femininity tainted with the influx of capitalism. I think how she embeds these consumerist symbols and analogies in her music, seen with "Cola" or "Diet Mountain Dew," reveal this often exploitative relationship between sexuality, performance, art and capitalism.


I think Lana Del Rey, in this interlinkage, reveals without censoring anything the often unrealistic expectations that women in pop music have to face and because of that how their art is impacted and, of course, this does not mean she does…

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